By on August 19, 2015

brute

Last week, rookie TTACer Aaron Cole called the RAM Rebel a Jeep pickup. I don’t think it would be impossible to make the case that the Rebel is a successor of sorts to the J10 and J20 full-sizers like the one that Jalopnik is rebuilding right now. Those pickups were discontinued after Chrysler acquired AMC because there just wasn’t enough money in the hopper to update them and do a new Dodge Ram truck. Shame, really, because the “FSJ” did have some fans and there are still people willing to pay sixty grand for a ’91 Grand Wagoneer.

Chances are, however, than when you think of a “Jeep pickup” you’re not thinking about a full-sizer at all. Rather, you’re envisioning what’s known as a “CJ-8”. It’s perfectly possible to buy a modern CJ-8. It’s also perfectly impossible that Jeep will ever be willing to sell you one. The reason? Why, it’s basically the same reason that the Camry V6 is not the most popular cop car in existence.


1982-Jp-Scrambler-rt-sd-color

Over the weekend, my son and I went to the Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio. It was his third trip to the facility and maybe my twentieth. It’s a great place to visit and it’s completely free. It is also under military jurisdiction. This is important in the event that, say, you have a felony assault warrant in your name and you’re looking for a place to hang out all day where you are absolutely guaranteed to not see a police officer. I’m just mentioning that for your future awareness.

The focus of our trip was cargo planes. Having just finished the LEGO Technic cargo plane, the boy was eager to take a close look at the real thing. In the Korean War gallery, tucked back near the double-decker Superfortress variant, there was a Jeep — more properly, a quarter-ton Willys truck. It looked, frankly, like a toy; like something adults had no business owning or driving. It took me a second to put it into perspective and remember that my idea of “Jeep” was based on the last CJ-descendant I drove: a forty-thousand-dollar, long-wheelbase, leather-lined, Pentastar-powered super-Jeep of sorts. Next to my lady friend’s Sahara Unlimited, this quarter-ton Willys stacks up like so. First number is the Willys, second is the Sahara:

  • Length: 132.2 / 184.4in
  • Width: 62.0 / 73.9in
  • Height: 69.0 / 73.7in
  • Curb Weight: 2,453 / 4,255lb

While the original composite Willys/Bantam M38 was always overweight from the very first prototype — the Army had hoped for a curb weight in the 1,500-pound range — it was remarkably compact for its carrying capacity and durability. This compactness had at least one unforeseen effect: When the Army replaced the M38 with the semi-monocoque Ford M151 “Mutt”, the Mutt’s sixty-four inch width meant that only one row of Mutts could fit into the C-141 cargo plane, compared to the double-row loading possible with the Jeep for which the C-141 was originally designed. And if the Mutt was a little bit bigger than the Jeep, the AMC-built Jeeps that followed were bigger still, with the coil-sprung 1997 “TJ” model representing the most complete break from the past in terms of both construction and dimension. The current Wrangler, of course, casts a larger shadow than any “CJ” or “Wrangler” before it.

Willys M38

While the original M38 had a utility body that was most often configured as two seats and a small open bed, most civilian Jeeps were four-seaters. It wasn’t until the long-wheelbase CJ-8 arrived in 1981 that you had a Jeep with a “real” pickup bed. The CJ-8 offered a 61.5-inch box in an era where a “short-bed” pickup came with a six-footer, so it still wasn’t considered a serious challenger to existing mini-trucks from Toyota, Nissan, et al. It also didn’t sell worth a damn.

I could end this article right here and say, “There’s no Jeep pickup because nobody bought one the last time such a vehicle was for sale,” but to do that would be to ignore both the vast changes in the personal-transportation market since 1987 and my personal duty to give you more than a glib answer on the subject. Let’s instead focus on what a current-model Jeep pickup would need to be successful and whether it would be possible to build such a creature. To do that, we need to think about the changes in pickup trucks since 1987.

The most obvious change: today’s pickups have become physically massive two-and-a-half-ton beasts that frequently bring around four hundred horsepower to the table and are expected to meet the ride and handling standards for full-sized sedans of the previous decade. No vehicle that was even approximately based on the JK Wrangler could approach the exterior size or interior space of something like the current F-150. So any Wrangler-ish truck that you could buy would be closer to a Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma in size. That’s a problem right there because the American public has shown again and again that it will only really take interest in a smaller pickup if that pickup comes from Toyota or Nissan. They’ve also shown that they don’t want to pay full-size prices for mid-sized trucks.

No chance, then, for something that was related to a Wrangler but looked more like a regular truck. Any Wrangler-based pickup would have to literally follow the CJ-8 template and simply be a Wrangler with a long bed. As it turns out, such a vehicle can be purchased for about $70,000. It’s called the AEV Brute Double Cab and it’s a Wrangler with a sixty-one-inch bed. You can also get it with a HEMI installed, if you’re so inclined, making it basically a ninety-grand Tonka toy.

aev_brute_doublecab_utah_setting

The AEV price premium of forty to sixty thousand dollars exists mostly because they have to take a Wrangler apart to build a Brute. I cannot imagine that the price premium for a factory-built Brute Double Cab HEMI from Jeep itself would be more than ten grand. Maybe less than that. For between forty and fifty grand, therefore, you could have a proper Jeep pickup. That’s pretty much heads-up with the RAM Rebel, and who can doubt that a Jeep “Double Cab” HEMI would be significantly cooler and more capable off-road than a Rebel? There has to be a reason that Jeep doesn’t build one, and that reason cannot have anything to do with avoiding intra-company competition. We live in a world of niches now. If BMW can make at least three different versions of the 3-Series with a swing-up hatch, then surely “Fiatsler” can offer two bad-ass off-road trucks at once.

I’d suggest that my comment above about cops and Camrys has something to do with it. Once upon a time, cops just drove the same car as everybody else, only with some extra “cop motor, cop brakes” beefing-up. As late as the early Eighties, you had plenty of people who bought Dodge Diplomats for police use and plenty of people who bought Diplomats for personal use. Yet when the M-body Diplomat private buyers traded in for a K-based Dynasty, the cops didn’t follow suit. Why? I’m sure every police officer who surfs TTAC has his own reasons, but the real reasons for the refusal to follow the American public into FWD mid-sizers was simply a perception of required capability and required image.

Cops didn’t like the look of the Accord or Camry, and they didn’t like the low-testosterone connotations of driving a FWD car. It didn’t matter that even a four-cylinder Accord could dust a Crown Vic around a handling-test course. They didn’t like the lack of “law enforcement presence” that came with the short hoods and friendly faces of the modern mid-sizers. The actual capabilities of the cars, which were proven to be entirely adequate in most cases, didn’t matter. Police departments all across the country began dreaming-up specifications that FWD cars couldn’t meet, like “jump a curb at 40mph”, to make sure that they stayed in Crown Vics and the like.

When the Crown Vic was discontinued, some departments panicked at the idea of being forced to drive a Taurus. Yet when the Explorer Police Interceptor appeared, they went for it in droves, even though the Explorer is basically a Taurus. Why? It’s simple: they liked the visual presence and implied capabilities of the Explorer. It said “cop car” to them in a way that a Taurus does not, even though a Taurus is superior to an Explorer in every dynamic test you can dream up.

Cops are people too, and pickup-truck buyers are also people, and those people are also obsessed with perceived capabilities and required image, and that is why you can travel this great land and rarely find anything beyond a bag of groceries in the back of a pickup truck. The people who buy trucks buy them for the look, for the perceived capability, and for the image. Nobody uses their truck for anything that can’t be done with a Camry, at least not often enough to justify owning a truck over owning a Camry and renting a truck. As Heath Ledger once said, I’ll show you: If you have an F-150 instead of a Camry, and you drive 15,000 miles a year, you’re buying 1,000 gallons of fuel instead of 500. That’s a $1,500 annual cost of F-150 ownership. My local Enterprise will rent me an F-150 for about seventy-five dollars a day. So, if you owned a Camry instead of an F-150, you could also have an F-150 for twenty days a year, and it would always be a nearly-new F-150. Do you use the additional capabilities of your pickup truck twenty days a year?

By the same token, getting a Jeep pickup truck over a standard Jeep Wrangler would impose additional costs — in fuel economy, purchase price, parking space, garage-ability, and so on. Even if it’s only five grand extra for the Scrambler body, that’s still $100 a month the way everybody (but you, Cash Money Internet Millionaire) buys cars. Jeep people will pay five grand extra every day of the week for a Rubicon package or a winch or something like that, but a pickup bed? They’ve already got the image thing covered, because they’re already buying a Wrangler. The only reason they would buy the pickup bed would be if they honestly needed the pickup bed. And since nobody needs a pickup bed, they don’t bother.

In case you’re wondering, that’s what killed the El Camino and Ranchero. Nobody needs a pickup bed, so buying a family car with a pickup bed makes no sense. People buy pickups because they are pickups, not because they have pickup beds. They buy pickups because they don’t want CAFE-friendly snub-nose FWD blobs, because they want to at least sit level with the SUVs that dominate traffic, because they think pickups last longer, because they think pickups are safer in a crash. Most of all, they buy pickups because the modern American life is an out-of-control spiral to the bottom where your healthcare costs more every year and your job pays less and your home is worth less but renting an apartment costs more and there is absolutely nothing you can do about any of it. Owning a pickup is what Margot Timmins would call your “horse in the country”. It’s a machine that deceives you into thinking you have some control over your life.

Which is also what a Jeep is.

So the real reason there’s no Jeep pickup is this: A Jeep and a pickup are the same thing. And you’re not a rebel for owning either one, are you?

Photos by AEV; AlfvanBeem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons; and Jeep.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

188 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: You Don’t Want A Jeep Pickup, You Pansy!...”


  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Maybe not a rebel, but possibly a Renegade.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Nice Cowboy Junkies reference.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Nobody uses their truck for anything that can’t be done with a Camry, at least not often enough to justify owning a truck over owning a Camry and renting a truck.”

    5th wheel trailers exist.

    • 0 avatar

      And boats and anything else you tow (enterprise used to prohibit towing not sure if they still do). Here in CT very few pickup buyers use their cars as sedans most are contractors farmers or tow RV’s and boats. In the early 2000 they were popular car replacements here but that died off quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Enterprise will rent you a quad-cab F-250 that tows like a dream. Under $100 a day.

        • 0 avatar
          Shane Rimmer

          That’s a negative, Jack. I just checked Enterprise and they had the following disclaimer:

          “Towing capability not available for consumer rentals.”

          Aside from towing, there are a number of things that I put in the bed of my truck that I would not want inside the interior of a car or SUV. Of course, you are right that about the capabilities of my truck going unused most days. That’s why I have a motorcycle that I use for most of my commuting.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            That’s odd, I’ve towed my race car across the country with Enterprise trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s going to depend on the local office. If they primarily rent trucks and vans to businesses, they won’t take the hitch off. If it’s a 1/2 ton truck for consumers, it typically won’t have a hitch.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-Iron

            @ Jack-you have also taken your rental Camry’s on a track, which I am pretty sure is also verboten.

        • 0 avatar
          korvetkeith

          F250s are only available in certain markets through like commercial division. Not available, even to reserve, in my relatively large market.

          The only Enterprise trucks garunteed to have a hitch is the large SUVs. Which are currently tahoes, suburbans and expeditions. The expedition will not have a round plug like most decent trailers. Those run around $100/day and $31/day with insurance. So if you’re going away for a long weekend expect a $500-700 charge.

          All models of pick ups that they rent do not have hitches except for the Ram big horn edition. The Ram big horn tows better than a tahoe. The problem is that if you reserve a pick up, the odds are low you’ll get one with a hitch. So you have to reserve an SUV and hope they have Ram big horn when you show up.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          You know, that’s not that cheap. For a couple hundred more I get my Frontier for the other 29 days of the month. No we aren’t talking F250/towing here but I have figured I have something in the bed that I wouldn’t want in an enclosed cab or wouldn’t fit 3-4 times a month. I tow my small camper 10 times a year or so and the truck lets me not put the post camp nastyness inside. This does not count all of the times my wife just has to have some piece of furniture. I have nowhere to put this magical small trailer everyone raves about as I already have a camper. So I just don’t see the renting argument. It is incredibly practical in that my family of 4 all fits and it has a bed. What is so terrible about this arrangement?

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Big Al – – –

            Ans: Nothing.

            I have a 2010 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed, with MT; and use it much the same way, including very comfortable highway cruising. For the real heavy duty cow-manure stuff, I have an old ’96 Dodge Ram 1500. For going shopping, there is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler X.

            (I got rid of my BMW 325i sedan: what a joke that was; but at least the Z4 does close to what is promised. Frankly, I can’t stand sedans anymore: talk about “pansy” vehicles…)

            ========================

      • 0 avatar
        caltemus

        “Here in CT very few pickup buyers use their cars as sedans most are contractors farmers or tow RV’s and boats.”

        I don’t know where in CT you live, but around the 84 corridor I see that all the time.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh there here, they just don’t make up the majority of full size pickups like they do in some other areas of the country. The midsize trucks are almost all daily drivers so i don’t count those.
          You will see more German luxury sedans on 84 then halfton daily drivers for sure.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          I live off 84 as well. I would agree that people daily driving pickups are in the Minority. Not that they don’t exist. Did that myself for a couple years.

    • 0 avatar
      55_wrench

      I just hauled 3300 pounds of dirt to the landfill in my F-250 yesterday. In one trip. Try that in a Camry.

      It’s an old 6.9 NA diesel, and was our 5th wheel tow vehicle, and my DD for 3 years when diesel was a buck or so a gallon.

      For several years I would only use it for dump runs, maybe 200 miles/year.

      Now that we need to regrade the property and do some heavy landscaping, it has proven invaluable. It’s the freedom to do what you want, when you want, that drives truck sales.

      CARB has offered me a grand to scrap it. It has little intrinsic value at this time due to its age and appearance, but as long as I need it to complete this latest round of heavy work, it’s a keeper. Yesterday’s event just proved that.

      For 300 bucks a year insurance and 150 in licensing, it’s great having the old beast around, on call, to do what needs to be done.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        There’s a great appeal, to me, to have ONE car which can do dirty things and go offroad, handle the snow, and also haul/tow crap if need be. Bonus points if it’s large and rather square.

        RR
        G-Wagen
        Land Cruiser
        Yukon

        I like all of these things.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          Funny how so many in Europe find ways to haul around the random yard waste or home IKEA meatball near-divorce experience with their diesel BMW wagons and this thing called a “trailer” to haul the stuff behind it. Here in Germany, I’ve seen them haul plenty o’ campers and motorcycle haulers and the occasional large boat.

          When they need the convienance of a car, they simply unhook the trailer and store it for when it’s needed.

          When they need a car to handle tough winters, they put snow tires on. I’ve had a set on my Bimmer 323 Ci last go round and they did quite well for moving through the slush. Granted it’s no mountain goat but I’m not living in Siberia.

          Seems much more practical to me. I get what you’re saying, but 90% of the people who own the Canyonaro pickups don’t use them for any of the above reasons and are the first to b**** when gas prices go up. I prefer the comfort of a car. I like how much easier it is to find parking. I like how I don’t have to have a second mortgage to afford gasoline and insurance and tires and maintenance just for the added machismo of sittin’ high.

          I like all these things.

          • 0 avatar
            Andy

            Sure it’s more practical. Especially because gas is $8/gal. Are they saving the baby seals and living simply on purpose, or are they simply responding to incentives?

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah, but there’s a word for Europeans, Asians and Africans who don’t like how things are done in Europe, Asia and Africa. We’re called Americans.

            Isn’t it nice to live in a world where we have choices?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ronnie I don’t follow, are you implying we live in a country with choices?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            @Ronnie:

            We don’t really have choices here. If you want to tow in the US, it’s truck, SUV, large CUV or nothing.

            Cars here aren’t given any more than a token 1000lbs capacity (if that).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I defer to Carlin on “freedom of choice”

            youtube.com/watch?v=yt49DsfKDMc

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            “We don’t really have choices here. If you want to tow in the US, it’s truck, SUV, large CUV or nothing.

            Cars here aren’t given any more than a token 1000lbs capacity (if that)”

            So you’re saying the exact same BMW diesel wagon from Germany that I buy here in the states; its tow rating changes magically somehow when it crosses the Atlantic? Is there a scientific principle that supports this or is it just hating on what you don’t like and being purposely dismissive?

            If you love the idea of choice so much, then you should be thrilled that I like the choice of not plunking down a year’s worth of salary just for the smug satisfaction that I’m a man now! and I might have to haul some yard debris to the dump once a year. When I could be smart about it, save the money and rent a trailer that’s rated to haul the same load and use it when I need to. And a Bimmer 5 series wagon is perfectly suited to this task. This would be my choice as yours is to reguraly visit the Exxon watering hole.

            Simply put. You have options that aren’t having a truck. That we can choose what works for us. Europeans do drive trucks, they have them here and they can choose to buy one. They’re just not that popular.

          • 0 avatar
            rbg

            Your sanctimonious comments were irritating enough that I felt compelled to sign up to be able to reply.
            I recently sold my F-150 which had replaced my F-250 king Ranch Power Stroke. Living in the country as we do with acreage and animals, a 1000 ft driveway that can drift shut with snow and the threat of deer decorating my hood, have made truck ownership practical. We still have a Suburban, and because I’m in sales and drive a lot, my Honda CRV is more desirable for daily driver duties.
            I don’t give a Sh!t what they do in Europe. I suppose you’d lecture me that I “don’t need” 11 cares of land, either. By the way, I also own a Porsche, but I would never use it to haul anything besides a picnic lunch. Just because someone isn’t using their truck as a constant beast of burden, what business is it of yours? The new Ram Eco Diesel gets the same mileage as my CRV and will probably be my next daily driver. If you want to drive a euro wagon with a poofter trailer, be my guest. Just don’t lecture me or other truck owners. The “nannying” of others and their choices is a slippery slope. One could take this logic to it’s furthest degree and end up using public transportation, or Smart for 2 cars.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          CoreyDL – – –

          I like all of these things too, but you forgot the Jeep 4-door Wrangler Unlimited, didn’t you? Or am I mistaken?

          Actually, I like the nice functional boxy vehicles with drag coefficients above 0.5. That helps me move the atmosphere out of the way properly, and keeps the air stirred up and fresher.

          And let’s not forget what Enzo Ferrari himself once said: “Any car makers who worry about aerodynamics don’t know how to build engines.”

          =================

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @NMGOM

            I’m sure I’ll raise the ire of Jeep people, but nope I did not forget it. I don’t put the Wrangler in any guise in with those other luxury cars. The Wrangler IMO is a utility only, and is not nice to ride around in on the road. It doesn’t really “work” in that space.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Corey,

            Guess I’ll have to disagree. I just test drove a “loaded” Unlimited this past Saturday. It’s a big barge that lost its pure “Jeep-ishness”. So it really is meant to compete in the premium SUV category.

            Please do the same, and then let’s see what you think.

            ================

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        55_wrench,
        Do you require a 6.9 diesel to move a ton and a half of dirt?

        • 0 avatar
          55_wrench

          no, but it’s what I had laying around for the last 18 years. And actually, brakes are more critical than raw power with that kind of a load.

          Not sure what they had Down Under then but you have to go back in time to understand what the options were.

          In the F-250 it was: 351 CID gas, 460 gas, or the 420CID diesel. The diesel was built by International Harvester and Ford bought the engines. So your choices for a really good tow vehicle were really the diesel and the 460 gasser, and the 460 sucked gas like nobody’s business. The limiting factor with the diesel powertrain was :
          1) Normally aspirated,
          2) 3 Speed Auto gearbox with no overdrive.

          The only way to make it into a capable trailer tow vehicle was to add a turbo and put a Gear Vendors overdrive on it. By the time I bought it, it was 13 years old and I couldn’t see putting 3500 bucks in a 5300 dollar truck when the Powerstrokes with overdrive were being built.

          So I kept the truck as-is and it has more than paid for itself in the work it has done for me.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve driven NA 6.9 and 7.3 had friends with both. Very durable but not very powerful engines. Really really slow under load . At this age you may need all 6.9 liters to haul 3k lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            I have a 1990 7.3 myself. Sadly I’m stuck with the e4od instead of the c6 ( torque converter clutch slips ). This isn’t fast at all.

            I personally picked up my truck for $400 4 years ago, beat up and rusty. But, it came with a stack of receipts. Currently sits at 370,000 and it just keeps going.

            Brakes of this generation are quite horrible though even when in good working order.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        Disclaimer: Anyone can drive anything they want; it’s no skin off my body parts. And for those of you saying that truck buyers are idiots, I promise that you’re stupid about something, too. You’re a person, after all.

        Now. What you’re saying is absolutely proof of the usefulness of a truck, but it’s the usefulness of an OLD truck. I have a 15-year-old Excursion that I use occasionally for carrying stuff or people or towing the boat around. I bring project materials home from the big orange store, drive out to the end of dirt roads to find fields so the dogs can run free, pound through unplowed roads in the winter, etc. And I wouldn’t do any of this to a new car, any more than I’d buy a $120k Range Rover for exploring the old fire roads. I’m glad people are buying new trucks, because there will come a day in a decade or two when I will want to buy that truck for $5k on craigslist and use it for truck things. But if the guy buying that $65k Platinum Laramie Denali-raptor is actually going to use it to haul loads of gravel and rocks out to the back 40, it seems like a waste of money *to me.*

        • 0 avatar
          55_wrench

          @mopar4wd:
          You’re absolutely right. 6.9 liters now is crazy power compared to the old Cornbinder engine from 30 years ago.
          It doesn’t make enough power to hurt itself.
          That said, it does need low gears and full throttle under a heavy load to get the job done. .but it gets the job done so I can’t justify running out and getting a newer truck as long as this one is still ticking. At 168,000 miles it has quite a bit of life left.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          One of the reasons “Cash for Clunkers” was so offensive was that it destroyed so many well worn old trucks and old trucks are really useful for odd jobs around the house. Old trucks are also useful for the self-employed small business owner. Those work out Explorers and F-150s got replaced with efficient commuting appliances for workers working for someone else.

          • 0 avatar
            55_wrench

            C4C would have got my truck but only if I would use the proceeds to get a Tundra..I just couldn’t justify the expense at the time. So I sacrificed the worn-out Crown Victoria that was about to need it’s 3rd heater core (know what that means?).
            NO REGRETS getting that lump off the road.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          @SmartASCII That’s the best summary I’ve seen on this article. Before someone screams “But, wait, farmers” again, let me start by saying that our family is a farm family. We have pickups, and we use them. This spring, I picked up another one.

          We have two trucks from the 1980s (86 D250 and an 87 Chev. R10), two trucks from the 1990s, and a 2000 K3500 that is our nice truck.

          The truck I bought this spring was a $450 1986 Dodge D250. We bounce across fields in it, and throw 2000# of straw in the bed. Can I do that in a Toyota Camry? No way. But, would I do it in a shiny, brand new Cummins? Also no.

          But, I’m glad that somebody bought a 2015 Silverado 2500 gasoline engine pickup. In another 15-20 years, it could make a great addition to our fleet!

    • 0 avatar

      I have a side business that involves buying stuff, often at auctions, and reselling on eBay and at hamfests – basically flea markets for ham radio and computer nerds. Because of that I’ve owned a pickup (a Ranger, but still) and currently have an SUV, although I’ve been gifted a beater minivan that will take over hauling duties because I’m beating the heck out of my SUV’s interior.

      Renting isn’t really an option for me. When I go to an auction, I often don’t know if I’m going to be coming out empty handed or with a ton of stuff. And most hamfests are on Sundays, and I often need to be on the road by 5AM. Enterprise in my area is closed on Sundays, so I would have to rent on Saturday and return on Monday, which means if I do a dozen hamfests in a year, I need to rent for 36 days.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      They do. And if you are going to regularly tow a big one, you aren’t going to be looking at the consumer-grade poser trucks that this article is talking about.

      “…simply a perception of required capability and required image.”

      This perfectly sums up why the Pickup is still insanely popular with ‘Muricans, and why the big 3 make vomit-inducing margins on their sales. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t seem to arbitrarily come with Bro-culture, Rolling-coal mentality, and terrible driving in general.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I bet I tow/haul more often than Porsche owners break 100 mph. It’s a pet-peave that there’s this assumption on sites like this that all trucks are poser-mobiles and every time they see one empty it just confirms their stereotype.

      Even though I tow/haul fairly regularly, I still take the truck to the mall sometimes. Did I lose all my “truck cred” when I went to Macy’s with an empty bed?

      As far as the jeep goes, I love it. Would be great for my bike and dog, but wouldn’t tow the travel trailer.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        If you need a truck, you need a truck. But that doesn’t change the fact that 90%+ of light duty fancy-pants pickup owners have absolutely no need of a truck, they just want a truck. Which is perfectly OK, just don’t b!tch to me about how much gas it sucks and how hard it is to park and how it doesn’t fit in the garage like the majority of my truck owning friends do ALL THE TIME.

        I have a 14yo beater Range Rover that in combination with any number of cheaply rented trailers will haul anything I am ever likely to need hauling, the 3-4 times a year I need to haul something. While being a whole lot more practical than a 4dr pickup the other 361-362 days a year.

        I disagree with Jack though – I think a Jeep pickup would sell like hotcakes if the price premium is reasonable. It’s a Jeep thing, he obviously doesn’t understand. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Are you really on here calling out truck owners while crowing about the practicality of your effing Range Rover? So do you often have to pull your little trailer of mulch across the Sahara? Tell me more about how ownership of a Range Rover makes you so much smarter than say, my Frontier. Wow.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            For it’s capability, the Rover is SMALL. Thus it fits in parking spaces and garages. It is little longer or wider than my roommates RAV4. It carries 5 large adults more comfortably than any mid-size 4dr truck, and on par with a full size, while still towing 7000lbs comfortably. With a covered cargo space.

            In V8 form it sucks gas, but no worse than a full size truck.

            The reality is that for the overwhelming majority of actual work that is done with a pickup in the US, a van would be more practical. For the majority of Suburban Cowboys, an SUV with a rented trailer would be more practical.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          And I’ve owned a Range Rover. Commuting in it was only slightly more practical than commuting in an SR-71 and probably only marginally less expensive and efficient.

        • 0 avatar

          I get your point and I think it’s silly to drive more truck then you would ever need (i’ve done it and I might do it again). But let’s be real my guess is that at least 50% of half ton buyers will use their trucks for work or tow a load in excess of 4,000 lbs at least once in a while.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            50%?? Maybe if you live in farm country. Here in suburbia they are sedans with porches.

            And as I said, it’s all fine and good to love your trucks, and if you need a truck you need a truck, just stop b!tching about the downsides of them. Which ALL the truck owners I know do incessantly. Because NONE of them actually have any need of having a truck as their only vehicle.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Bravo.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I agree 100%–especially with the bit about perceived use vs. reality and the costs thereof. I came to this conclusion when I briefly toyed with the idea of buying a truck/SUV for my wife as the do-it-all family hauler. Then I realized that the only thing that I seem to bring home is sheets of plywood and the occasional long pieces of lumber. That’s why I bought her an S55 instead of an Expedition. I think we’re all happier this way and it’s fantastic to put the roof bars on the Benz and go camping with a roof box. It irritates the campers and makes the three point purists cringe when they see it.

  • avatar
    Syke

    The article (and especially the last couple of paragraphs) goes a long way to explaining why the American pickup truck has evolved into a cartoonish parody of what is actually needed to do work. Unless you’re the one guy in the ads who’s having a power shovel drop a one-ton load of dirt into your bed in one fell swoop.

    I’ve always figured anything else with full size pickup ownership has something to do with other bodily parts not quite working up to expectations. Of course, I can take that snarky attitude: I traded in my pickup for a mini van last year. And find it a hell of a lot more useful.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Yup. I think that’s true also. This one hare got his macho pick ’em up truck ding dong extension lopped right off…

      https://youtu.be/O4B7zQ586J0

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Looks like ttac lopped off my YouTube video link right off also. Type in “Ford Raptor destroyed”, grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          @Super

          BTW, you CAN post youtube links in full, just take off the HTTPS:// part at the beginning and it will allow it, and add that bit in for you when you post.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Oh duh…

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4B7zQ586J0

            Thanks Corey. What can I say, I’m dated. I even still drive a car. With a manual transmission!

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “I traded in my pickup for a mini van last year. And find it a hell of a lot more useful.”

      You found the minivan more useful than the PU because you never needed a PU in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        At one time I did. I hauled a lot of motorcycles, singly. Would put on a trailer if I needed to haul two or three.

        Once the vintage motorcycle collection was sold (by 2013) the pickup became redundant. Kept it for a year to be sure, then sold. I do a lot more camping at racetracks than motorcycle hauling nowadays.

    • 0 avatar
      55_wrench

      I was the guy taking on the yard of dirt…but my Kubota took a little longer! Still didn’t break a sweat though..

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Why can’t I like trucks and be satisfied with whatever is between my legs?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I perfectly exemplify the traditional truck buyer in the US except for one difference: I didn’t take out a lengthy loan to get it. It was my step dad’s truck and when he passed away on New Year’s Day this year my mom was left with the Tacoma and her Venza lease. I agreed to pay it off for her, take on the insurance, and keep it at my house.

    I drive it to and from work, usually don’t carry passengers in my 4 door truck, and the bed is spotless since I never haul anything around in it. Since I have cars that are fun to drive, it really only gets driven on days when it’s supposed to rain.

    My original inclination is to sell it while the market for it is high and we could potentially get as much cash for it as it cost new in 2009. But mom wants me to keep it so we can use it whenever we need it. Trucks are handy, you know. Spoiler: it’s been used one time since I’ve had it to haul a large item in the bed which wouldn’t fit in a regular car.

    I personally don’t understand the draw for big trucks as daily drivers of people who work in an office. But then I also don’t get why having a child means you need a Tahoe. Since I have no kids I guess it’s all about perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      3XC

      The draw for big trucks is the cachet/social capital of them. It projects an image. Just look at how trucks are advertised on television. Slow motion shots of a cowboy (of course) in driving rain rescuing a lost calf. I live in suburban Baltimore, and moneyed milquetoasts that write code or take depositions all day hop in their Platinum F-150s or Sierra Denalis and putt home in 35 mph rush hour highway traffic. They also have a Harley-Davidson in their garage that gets 300 miles per year put on it. They’re corporate eunuchs, trying to reclaim their masculinity with consumer purchases.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        I would venture a guess that this is the case just about everywhere. I don’t have an issue with a truck for those that actually need or use them, but it just seems silly to drive an empty one to an office job.
        To the point that men need to reclaim some form of masculinity, I think that a lot of guys are trying this using their wallet. I see many of my neighbors who subscribe to this theory, but most are lazy turds who can’t be bothered with much more than cutting their own grass (and that’s just done to escape their families). I see my male neighbors outside two times a week, once to cut the grass, the other to take out the trash. These “men” will then take their new pick-em-up to the dealer for oil changes. Not sure if that’s funny or sad.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Can’t I just like trucks without a psychology or sociology lecture?

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          No: everything comes with a lecture and armchair analysis now. It is no longer enough to disagree with another persons choices; it is important that you also make sure that your peer group knows about your disapproval.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s what I figured.

            Just because I have a white collar job doesn’t mean I shouldn’t own a truck. I actually drive blue/green ugly Ford hybrid, but whatever. That doesn’t define me either.

          • 0 avatar

            Armchairs are probably bad, too. You should be sitting on a firmer chair, or standing!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My vehicle has nothing to do with my penis! Maybe my balls do though. They like cooled/ventilated seats.

        • 0 avatar
          j.grif

          X2, I like cars better for commuting, but have a need for a pickup truck often enough, makes no sense to pay the extra insurance and upkeep for the commuter to save 2 or 3 hundred gallons of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          I don’t think that there’s any objections to a personal preference. Some like trucks, some like cars, some like motorcycles. The point I was attempting to make was that many choose a truck not because it’s their preference, but it’s because they’re using the truck as a device to bolster their feeling that they’re a real guy’s guy. Some people like trucks for the style, for the thought that *maybe* they can drive offroad or haul away free crap at a moment’s notice. I just can’t align with the act of actually purchasing one knowing the truth that most people don’t do these things but rarely. So rare in fact, that as was originally noted in the article, that it’s cheaper to rent a pickup for the handful of times that one is needed.
          You like a truck, go buy one the money is yours to spend. However, when men who are useless, helpless or lazy do so to try to show the world that they are a man, that’s when I will opine with my delightful notion that a truck should be used for it’s intended purpose. If someone is hauling around a bedful of air 95% of the time, I shall grasp the brass ring of mirth and summarily make fun of them. I would make fun of so-called men who buy expensive tools but never use them because there is truly no difference. Could you imagine a giant box full of Snap-On that’s used twice a year to put together Ikea furniture?
          I’m sure there is a sliver of the population who buy trucks who are 100% ok with the fact that they neither use nor need them, but just like them–at least those guys are honest, all six of them. I can respect honesty.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I guess my question is why do you care so much? Is the motivation they had for buying a truck any less valid than whatever motivation you have for purchasing your vehicle?

            I don’t really care what my neighbors drive or why. I notice what they drive so I can tell if they are home and look out for suspicious vehicles (and because I like cars). The only time I care what kind of tools they have is if I need to borrow a tool. I’ve owned my C-Max for 3 years, and one of my neighbors asked me, “When did you get a hybrid?” a couple weeks ago. It doesn’t seem like they really care either.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            I commute (60 miles total) in an 89 Jeep, for the past 9 years. Burns a lot of gas, but I’ve got no payments and with minimal electronics, it’s damned easy to fix. I’ve thought about commuting in something else, but it’s just a lot of fun to drive. (It does get get some serious off-road time, deep mud, scrape the skidplate, several times a year. But that’s entertainment for me.)

            My wife commutes in an 88 MB 560SL for some similar reasons: she simply likes driving it, practicality be damned.

      • 0 avatar
        Driver8

        “They’re corporate eunuchs, trying to reclaim their masculinity with consumer purchases.”

        …all singing, all dancing crap of the world…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You should do a few numbers for your mom and show her what baubles she could get if you sold the truck and set a bit of the proceeds aside to rent a truck on the few occasions you really need it.

      Personally, I’ve rented four trucks in the last three years. The funny part is that three of them were cube trucks, to carry things that would have been too big for a pickup anyway. So I’m pretty firmly convinced that I don’t need a pickup. On the other hand, I use my Forester all the damn time to carry furniture and other stuff that needs weather protection. Your mileage may vary, a lot, if you do DIY construction or have a big yard.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        The same could be said of people who buy performance/luxury/premium cars such as a flagship Lexus.

        How much could’ve been saved by going with something else? Noone needs what a Lexus offers. But tis nice to have. Amirite?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          All depends on your priorities. I enjoy the additional comfort and smoothness of the Lexus every time I get in it. There’s nothing I enjoy about a pickup other than its ability to carry stuff a car can’t. But if the pickup makes you happy, then that’s great.

          The particular poster I was responding to, though, doesn’t really seem to enjoy the pickup. If he doesn’t like it, and he doesn’t regularly use its capabilities, why keep it?

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Her lease runs out next summer and I have done a good job convincing her that she doesn’t want something that sits up high since she is quite short and has a hard time getting and out. She already admits the truck won’t be a viable option for her. So I’ve been gently advising her that a TSX wagon is in her future.

        She likes to cart around my sister’s kids and she always seems to be dragging a ton of stuff here and there. So I figure a low mile used wagon will do her well plus have the added benefit of being something I wouldn’t mind taking over after a while with nearly no additional miles on it.

  • avatar
    96E36M3

    Fun read, thanks Jack! But: didn’t the Jeep J10, J20 and especially the XJ bodied Comanche pickups sell well? It was my understanding that the disappearance of Jeep pickups, which correlates exactly to Jeep’s acquisition by Chrysler, was because the latter didn’t want Jeep pickups competing with Chrysler pickups. Chrysler’s mismanagement of the Jeep brand is notorious amongst Jeep enthusiasts. The YJ years were the silliest in Jeep’s history. (I touched on this in my piece on Land Rovers:
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/the-concept-of-myth-and-why-some-cars-are-cool/

    Enthusiasts wouldn’t buy the YJ, and CJ prices subsequently skyrocketed. The enthusiast mantra, “Real Jeeps have round headlights” (the flat rejection of Chrysler’s ‘Barby Jeep’) finally resulted in the TJ, with real suspension (coil springs), the ability to mount 31″ tires, and – round headlights.

    Given this massive ignorance of what their target market actually wanted, and would pay good money for, it isn’t surprising to me that Chrysler missed the boat on whether that market would buy Jeep pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The YJ design was already done before Chrysler bought AMC/Jeep, so Chrysler did not “screw up” the Wrangler. AMC recognized that the vehicle needed more creature comforts to enhance and expand its appeal.

      According to some retired AMC folks I know, the square headlamps (as well as the name change to Wrangler) were a way to make a clean break from the “tippy/unstable” CJ and create a “new” vehicle that gave more of a connotation of stability. The thought process was that it was hard for a rectangle to tip over, so why not use rectangular headlights to play upon that idea?

      Clean YJs are now bringing decent prices, especially the later 4.0L equipped ones. They are easy to modify, and the cheaper price vs. a CJ or a TJ leaves a lot of leftover cash for modifications.

      Full disclosure: I’ve never owned a YJ, but I do own 2 TJs as I prefer the interior and other refinements made to the vehicle over its predecessor. Having said that, I respect the YJ and the potential it has.

  • avatar
    Pesky Varmint

    Many years ago the Arizona Department of Public Safety adopted the Crown Vic.
    Subsequently they trialed the Taurus. Weakest link in the Taurus and any other front wheel drive car they ever tried were the transmissions, rarely able to get up to 50000 miles before a major overhaul. So despite gas tanks that would explode when the cars got rear ended, the Crown Vic ruled for years. I took the lesson to be that front engine rear drive cars, particularly with beam axles are the toughest configuration of all. Part of the reason I liked buying a used Mustang as my get to work car: Crown Vic mechanicals in a lighter, smaller car (which the DPS used for pursuit from time to time too).

    That’s why Camry never became a police car in Arizona.

    And why they’ve gone to Ford Police Interceptor on an SUV platform (again, that ruggedness thing).

    Some Arizona police agencies have gone to Dodge Charger/Challenger, again a front engine rear drive platform.

    I know this from having several DPS friends.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Taurus and Explorer Interceptors are better than the Crown Vic in every conceivable way, besides possibly familiarity and easy of repairs. They are also very similar vehicles. It’s yet to be proven that they are less durable than the Vic. Chargers are less durable than the CV. They fall to pieces in police duty.

      Personally, I think that the police in the city that I live in should go to C-Maxes instead of Explorer Interceptors. We don’t have speed limits over 35 MPH in our less than one square mile city. If the police didn’t go revenue generating on the adjacent freeway, they would never need to go much faster than say 50 MPH.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “The Taurus and Explorer Interceptors are better than the Crown Vic in every conceivable way”

        Not from what I understand, bro told me his Taurus (I think MY12) has been in the shop nine times @ 42K for various problems. Evidently now that the warranty has run out, now it is in the City garage being repaired (traditionally a GM shop) and the expected wait time is two months (granted its not Ford or the dealers fault that city mechanics are incompetent). They have twelve cars in the zone and only seven were operational as of last week, two of which being W-Impalas and one Chevy Express paddy wagon. The City never used Panthers so I don’t know how they would have held up in a similar situation, but I imagine they would not have been in the shop nine times by now. For the all the Taurus/Explorer strengths it seems to be the obvious thought of a Volvo decontented by Ford is perhaps it was never designed for “tough” policy/military use and its just showing through now.

        Additional: We’ve all discussed this before, but it seems to me the Explorer/Taurus , in some cases, will wind up at the 100K mark in poor running condition. Muni gov’ts are frequently cash strapped and the predictable, if not cheap, operating costs of the Panther were a boon to them. Now it seems they will have to turn over cars more frequently or pay for more repairs than before, which will create financial pressure for said munis.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Your town could be like Detriot, and just lease an Intrepid from Chrysler for 20 years and spend like $500,000!

          Also, discussion of bad police cars makes me think of odd police car choices in TV and film.

          -Saab 9000 in Aspen PD livery comes to mind in Dumb & Dumber.

          -Police Eagle Visions and Intrepids used in Lois & Clark TV show with Dean Cain.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            DaimlerChrysler tried to market LH as a police car in 2002. The only real time example I ever saw was the Allegheny County Police, who while as individuals are typically seasoned veterans from other depts/military, as a county police they are/were completely worthless. Evidently your first year you get paid 28K but at year four you get a bump to 70K and top out at 85 in ten years. All to guard the county parks and generally not do anything. Sweet gig if you can land it, but of course it helps propel the county into its eventual bankruptcy.

            “The Dodge Intrepid police car package, which ran from 2002-2003 and ended with a 4% market share, was based on the Dodge Intrepid R/T, with a 3.5-liter, 242 hp (at 6,400 rpm) V-6 engine.”

            “The Intrepid failed to catch on as a police vehicle partly because it was not on the market for very long – two years – and because of the brake fires which occured during testing and during use (see sidebar). It was also front wheel drive, which presented a barrier for many departments, and was not “better enough” to overcome that or the safety of not changing.”

            http://www.allpar.com/squads/dodge-intrepid.html

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Los Lunas, NM PD had an Intrepid as an unmarked car as recently as 2010. According to my radar detector the only thing they tried to use it for was to catch in town speeders.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Interesting! Yeah since the Intrepid wasn’t a great car overall, certainly isn’t good for heavy-duty use.

            Here’s the story on the Detroit mismanagement car.
            http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/city-detroit-paid-65-000-2004-dodge-intrepid-173443388.html

            Also I added too many zeroes to my initial estimate. But still too much at $65K.

            Fancy police 9000!
            http://bestmoviecars.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/1993-Saab-9000-CS.jpg

            And don’t forget the stretch Range Rover.
            http://bestmoviecars.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Taco-22.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @principaldan

            That’s actually a very good idea and use for it at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Washington State Patrol tried to use some LHes in the early 2000s. They quickly got downgraded to commercial-vehicle duty, I understand because of fragility in police service.

            More recently, they bought one fleet of Caprice PPVs, but have now shifted to Explorers like almost every other agency in my local area.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Early ’60’s, seventeen year old youth bound for college in ATL, via Jacksonville for a USMC entrance exam. Take a late afternoon bus out of JAX, get a two hour plus layover at a bus station in Albany (pronouned all-BENNY) GA, about a half hour after the juke joints closed.

            What do two wondering young eyes see but two Packard Clipper cop cars parked facing in opposite directions in the bus station parking lot, chewing the fat and keeping a fish eye on the local denizens still not home in bed.

            That was the strangest police car fleet I ever saw.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Even in the early 60’s, those Clippers would have been quite old to be in police car service, eh? I wouldn’t think they would be quick enough to keep up with modern cars.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Nine times is high. The cities around me have very little downtime on their Taurii/Explorers. The police officers I talk to say that there is no difference in downtime, yet. There is also a State Police Post near my house and Lieutenant lives down the street. According to him: Taurus/Explorer/Tahoe > Crown Vic > Charger. Everyone likes to drive the pursuit Charger and the State got them for peanuts, but they break. A lot.

          The MY2016 Explorer Interceptor is an even better product. They actually had a lot of police input into the changes that were made.

          Yes, the City of Detroit had some incompetent leadership…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Next time I see him I will ask for a list of maladies. Actually I should just interview him on the subject.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Is one of the maladies, “Stomping on the Ecoboost V6 all over the place”? That seems to be a malady the police have around here. Because you can doesn’t mean you should.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Evidently acceleration and handling are two of its strengths. I can’t recall everything now but I know once it was in for transmission problems, once for the rad, and some of the rest were electrical problems.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ford probably would be wise to offer a Ford (and Lincoln) sedan based on the upcoming Explorer. As stout as the 6F55 transmission has become, the 6R transmission (and upcoming 10R) is still a beast in comparison. Heck, the 6R140 handles 860 torques. The CV never got 6R though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sedans based on/designed around C/SUVs? Don’t we kinda have those now and don’t they suck?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well, same platform. Look, no sedan is going to be on it’s own platform anymore. Gotta share pieces, man.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The C/SUV and sedan should share a platform but what we have seen recently is the sedan seeming being put on the C/SUV platform which ruins the sedan. previously we saw the opposite and it seemed to work.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          My parent’s 2012 Taurus has been in the shop twice. First was the free scheduled oil change that was provided when you buy a new car. Second was “The Works” service I had performed at 60k. Nothing else as it is rapidly closing in on 70K.

          Their previous Grand Marquis was in for repairs several times. Nothing really major, like a CD player that wouldnt play CDs and a croak/grinding noise from the front end. After factory warranty was up, the ECC unit failed and defaulted to windshield defrost. I took it out and sent it to a guy on eBay on an exchange basis (he had excellent feedback), it was cheaper than a new unit BY FAR, and the result was a perfectly functioning unit.

          The Taurus has had 0 isses and still drives like new. At or before 60k, the Grand Marquis brake rotors were warped and shuttered the car badly when slowing down. Nothing like that on the Taurus, it stops as smoothly at 67k as it did at 67 miles. Braking performance is also vastly superior, as is every other aspect of driving dynamics. There is no advantage the Grand Marquis had over this Taurus, with the possible exception of being able to do long smokey RWD burnouts, lol. Taurus is faster and gets better MPG. Comparing the handling, its like comparing a sail boat to a go cart.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      That front drive thing used to be true, but not so much anymore. What it REALLY comes down to is all the gear and crap in the cockpit now. Not a fat joke- even skinny cops (which do exist) carry so much gear now, and with the always on laptop, video controls, radios, etc. you just need a bigger vehicle and the Taurus is actually pretty small inside. Plus you have to spend all day in a tight compartment.

      Now they’re stuffing the back with pc’s/extra hard drives, gps equipment, equipment to run the license plate trackers, etc. Some of the most up to date equipment looks like a server rack in the trunk. Ya machismo is probably part of it, but I can see why a Camry wouldn’t work…maybe an avalon. Everytime I see one of the new tech demo’s I understand why more and more agencies are turning to Tahoes.

      I’m not a cop, but I’m the manager of an outfit that insures the cop cars in my state. So I’ve had lots of chances to talk to police/sheriffs about their total cars and see and pay for all the crap they carry now.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      There are tons of FWD Chevy cop mobiles running around Maine for both the staties and the locals. Have been for ages, since the first Lumina police package debuted. Way more Crown Bricks, of course, but plenty of the front drivers too.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Lol, Lumina police car. That’s about as silly a thing as making a police car out of this!

        http://www.classiccarstodayonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Oldsmobile-1968-Toronado-limo-Hugo90.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Lumina was a W-body and so is the current Impala police car, why funny?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I just view them as too soft, and a bit too small to be taken seriously as a police vehicle. At least the Intrepid was kinda large and sporting. Not a problem with the W-body in particular.

            And btw when I hear Lumina, my mind goes to this.

            http://cimg0.ibsrv.net/ibimg/www.carsdirect.com/126/120/341/3/d3180630.jpg?w=2000&h=2000

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Tangential to your thoughts on the cars cops choose as police cars, I remember when the police department in my town went with Volvos. Volvos! In the mountain west of all places. Feast your eyes on awesome:

    https://www.facebook.com/RapidCityPD/photos/a.312205406797.181721.57813171797/10152325435096798/

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      That is amazing.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Isn’t that a special trim? I can’t remember what the symbol on the grille was for… We did discuss that particular Volvo here once.

        • 0 avatar

          The badge on the grill said Lambda-Sond, to announce that the car was equipped with a cat and probably Bosch LH Jetronic fuel injection to go with. I’m pretty sure the quad round headlights were available on the 6-cylinder models from the beginning, but I think where were a few malaise years when all of the 4-bangers had them as well. The River City PD page mentions their cars were turbocharged. Neat!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks! My original thought was that it had something to do with the sound system (per only recalling the “sond” part I guess.)

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The Lambda-sond badge indicated the presence of an oxygen sensor, which was tech Volvo pioneered in conjunction with Bosch. My ’76 242 had one with no cat, and ran perfectly happily on leaded gas. Which was still widely available in the rural parts of Maine when I had that car in 1988.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A number of towns in Maine, including our state capital, had Volvo copmobiles for eons.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Not disagreeing, but know this: I have yet to see a rental vehicle besides a box truck that has a tow hitch. The HD/Lowes/Enterprise/etc F-150s do not have receivers nor the wiring to tow even a regular trailer let alone a 5th wheel. So contractors with job site trailers, boaters, camper trailer-ers, etc will be seen driving their trucks (or vans or SUVs) during the week and appear to be wasting capacity when in reality they’ve made the most cost effective decision for the expensive hobbies they pursue.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      True I actually considered renting a U-haul pickup and a U-haul car hauler for a job I needed done just to save wear and tear on my pickup. No dice, the only thing they’ll let you rent with a hitch is their smallest box truck.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        All they’re box trucks should have hitches. Penskes’ at least do. Not that anyone wants to rent a 26′ box truck to just tow a car.

        In order to get a truck/van with a hitch from Enterprise, you have to do a business rental. It’s not allowed for consumers. Same thing with most other companies.

    • 0 avatar
      Silence_Dogood

      About three years ago, I rented a brand-new regular cab, two-door, 2WD F-150 from U-Haul to launch my boat. It had a receiver hitch and the plug-in for trailer lights. I had it all day, and I think I was into it for about $75 including fuel. It pulled my 20 ft. pontoon boat nicely, and was a preferable option to borrowing a truck from a friend or neighbor. The rep at the local U-Haul store told me that all of their pickups were set up for towing.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    What I’d lose by having to rent a pickup is freedom. And I don’t know exactly when I’m going to need or want a pickup. It feels constricting not have the option, at any given moment. Once you’ve had one, you can’t go back to just only having a car. Not to mention all the new possibilities, you didn’t know you had.

    Often the 1st guy or gal that shows up in a pickup gets the Free Stuff. I couldn’t tell you all the stuff I’ve scored, while the others were scrambling to get a pickup. Free riding lawn mowers, working. One pool table, nice. Pinball machine, very nice. Working, newer appliances. You name it. Leftover lumber, free. Crazy the stuff people just give away.

    Sometimes the most comfortable place to sit is a tailgate when the hard work/play is done.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      You have a pickup truck so you can collect free garbage you didn’t know you wanted at the drop of a hat?

      Thank you for confirming my suspicion that pickup trucks are often hoarder-enabling devices.

      I’ll stick with a hatchback/roadster and buy my own pinball machine with the fuel savings at such time as I determine that I want a pinball machine.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s all *Junk* as soon as it leaves th showroom anyway. But I’ll be the 1st there, dropped tailgate, when your wife says it’s ‘her’ or your dumb pinball machine.

        It’s not the primary reason, but icing on the cake. Everyone’s got their own beliefs (besides their wife’s), but God Bless America. And everyone believes thier “hoarding” is better than your’s or anyone else’s, except often my friends and neighbours benefit from mine before it do. Yeah I love it.

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      I’m with you, dude. My wife keeps reminding me we’re not poor… but a deal is a deal! You can always give it away again if you decide you don’t need it.

      I wouldn’t daily drive a truck if I still had a long commute. We’d use the family CUV for camping trips, and I’d rent a truck, or simply pay for delivery, when I acquired building materials for projects.

      But when you see free firewood, you gotta jump on it!

      The office workers putting 50+ miles a day on an F-150… I don’t get it. But whatever, they’re having fun.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I knew a farmer with a J20, he loved it and kept it until it rusted into irrelevance. He went out and bought a brand new Dodge (1994 or 1995 model) and pressed it into service on the farm.

    The J20 got restored to nicer than new and became his going to church, date night pickup.

    The only Scrambler I ever saw that wasn’t at a car show was being used by a small time sheep farmer in my part of Ohio who would load up the Jeep with bales of hay, drive to the pasture, and then drive back to the barn. Now those jobs are done by Mules and Gators.

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      My dad is a farmer who had a J10 – a 4×4 ’80 bought new. Standard cab and 8′ bed, 360 V8. Lasted for 18 years until it was too rusty to operate anymore. He wasn’t happy that he couldn’t get another Jeep pickup, and in the same way as you describe, it was replaced by a Ram 2500. But the Jeep was too far gone to restore, and was scrapped.

      Those SJ Jeep pickups were great trucks. It really is too bad that Chrysler didn’t continue to develop those, but given the marketshare that Chrysler has and how popular the ’94 Dodge pickup turned out to be, I suppose it had to happen.

  • avatar
    htatc

    In my neck of the woods I definitely see people using their trucks for more than looks. In a rural/growing small town people here actually to use trucks for the purposes intended. But, then if they didnt? So what? That is the beauty of America. We can do that. Single living in an apartment? Want to buy a fully loaded King Ranch? Do you really need it?Who cares. Same goes for M series, V series, F sports, Ferraris, Aston and the such. Yea, we dont need them. But, then we buy them cause it is what we like. And lets not pretend that From Ford to Toyota, they are unaware of this.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      In many rural settings, the negatives of having a pickup, like parking, doesn’t apply. From a city perspective, it still looks a bit weird to DD a crewcab long bed dually, but when every parking spot is dimensioned for such monstrosities, they’re not nearly the daily burden the average San Franciscan may think of them as. And rural folk seems to all have at least one each of snowmobile, atv, dirtbike, camper and an animal farm.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This article has a lot in common with the “why people buy sports trim levels etc” article that Bark wrote!

    Privilege!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I came to the same conclusion about pickup truck ownership after my kids got too big for the extended cab Dakota I owned. I liked having the capacity, size and maneuverability that truck had, but once those little legs got too long for the back seat, it was done. My wife hated the truck, and this was a good excuse to replace it.

    I now find for the few times a year that I *really* need to haul something, I have several friends who have trucks I can borrow, or at worst rent one from Home Depot or U-Hell. The analogy about having a nearly new F150 twenty days a year is true for me. But, that’s just me, right now. My world could change tomorrow and who knows what I’ll need then…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      How did the Dakota treat you?

      Round here I was always disappointed with them. They seemed like they were much too small for the mileage they got, and also rusted with a passion. It’s rare to see them here today. Much more likely to see an S-10 4-door thing.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “How did the Dakota treat you?”

        Mine treated me with contempt and disdain.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Electrical and trans issues?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yes. Got rid of it and bought a Dodge Ram. Had that truck in the fleet from the late 90s until 2014. By the end, was possible to start it without a key and shift into R or D from Park without putting your foot on the brake.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hey those loose tolerances are a hallmark of the Chrysler corporation, and make their cars easier to own!

            Like on Top Gear, you can leave your keys at home and take your Challenger down the street for an ice cream.

            Easy!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Sounds like my ’87 Taurus. Similarly possible to start and run without a key. Fortunately no one figured it out.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I had a 1995 SLT V6 extended cab. You’re right, V6 or V8 they were hard on fuel. But in the late 90’s who cared? Fuel was less than $1/gallon. It was cheaper than milk by a huge amount. These trucks seemed rather heavy, but they were quiet and could easily pull what ever I threw in the bed or attached to the hitch, though.

        Never had a problem with rust, either. I bought mine used in Georgia, and moved it to Michigan, kept it up here for two years, for a total of four years. No real running issues, it fired up every morning and took me where ever I wanted to go. But once my kids didnt fit in the back seat anymore the wife pestered me to get rid of it. In fact I still see that generation of Dak on the roads around here, but by now they’re 20 year old vehicles and they have a sh*t ton of rust on them.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        @Corey We have a 1992 Dakota (Reg Cab/Long box). It was abused (Construction company truck), but it’s been a tough little beast. It would do more work than my 1995 F150 would, was way more comfortable to drive (It handled like a large car), and got 22 MPG on the highway. It was a 4×4, with the 3.9L V6 and a 5 speed manual.

        The transfer case split in half. I put a junkyard one on myself- old Dodges are the easiest trucks to work on in my mind. Yes, they’re easier to service than old Chevrolets.

        We now use it on farm only, mostly to pick up straw bales. I’ve hauled about 2000# in the bed with it. Granted, my 1986 D250 is much better for the task, but for what it is, the Dakota is a tough machine.

        I’d have another in a heartbeat.

  • avatar

    On the jeep thing. First of all this is Murica. Jeep plus pickup = image x10.
    Second Tacoma and wrangler are some of the most cross shopped vehicles around there has to be some conquest sales there.

    Third The most likely reason to not do this is possible stealing of sales from Ram and Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      Another reason not really mentioned is that FCA’s Toledo plant is running at capacity. It just doesn’t make sense at this point to design this variant.

      For the next generation, I hope that FCA is able to increase capacity and build a truck variant. Sure, it would take away some RAM and Wrangler sales, but it would be unique and attract new buyers for being completely different. I even bet with the right engine it could sell well globally.

      I think FCA could design a truck variant for much less than what Jack is suggesting. Even 5K extra per vehicle seems high to me.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Slow clap. Good article. Nails it.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Agreed, it’s a pretty good analysis. Still, Mini manages to do pretty well churning out different flavors of the same platform, I would think Fiatsler could do the same with the Jeep. But there probably not enough volume to make it worth the bother.

  • avatar
    Andy

    Well, you sure kicked the hornet’s nest today… well done!

    Not that I feel the need to justify anything to anyone, particularly on the internet…

    “Do you use the additional capabilities of your pickup truck twenty days a year?”

    Yes.

    Comparable questions:
    Does anyone track their AMG Benz 20 days a year?
    Does anyone have the King of Siam drinking chilled champagne in the back of their Equus 20 days a year?

    But so what? Cars are supposed to be fun, right? I guess that’s your point. The Jeep buyer is looking for cool, not practical. And Fiatsler is selling well enough without complicating things.

    But I think there might actually be a market for a Jeep pickup. The 2nd gen Tacoma has sold better in its last few months than in the years before. The GM twins are sold before they come off the transporter. There really are people for whom this is “enough truck”, even if it can cost as much as a discounted full sizer (and uses as much gas). It fits in the garage. It looks nifty. It’s easy to park. Jeeps can do that. But there are actually things you can do with a bed that you can’t do with a Jeep. It holds our camping gear (me and three teenage boys), and I can free crap I find on craigslist and bulk trash day.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Does anyone have the King of Siam drinking chilled champagne in the back of their Equus 20 days a year?”

      I do most days and let me tell you they were not easy to come by.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “My local Enterprise will rent me an F-150 for about seventy-five dollars a day. So, if you owned a Camry instead of an F-150, you could also have an F-150 for twenty days a year, and it would always be a nearly-new F-150. Do you use the additional capabilities of your pickup truck twenty days a year?”

    I easily use the capabilities of my PU 21 days a year. I use it that much in a month sometimes. I need to drop my boat back into the lake this week. The boat landing is two miles away so it can be done in about 20 minutes. If I had to rent a truck I’m looking at easily 2 hours provided I can get a truck and a $100. I pulled it out at about 9 PM last week when I was done using it and the landing was slow. I would have had to rented the truck for 2 days. So my PU just saved me $300 right there, plus my time which you can’t put a price and I don’t have anyways. I’ll do this 5 times this season easy, so that’s $1500 my PU just saved me in 3 months.

    I also have my little 18′ Classic boat . That sits in the garage . I’ll tow that easily 15 time a summer. so there’s another $1500 my PU just saved me. And we aren’t even into the snowmobiling season yet. Figure another 4$-5K saved there easy because I’m not renting a truck.

    So without even trying my PU saves me easy $8K a year because I don’t need to rent a truck. Figure another $2K easy for the inconvenience of having to rent and I’m at $10Ka year( and that’s probably low by about 1/2) that I save in truck rental fees and being inconvenienced.

    So tell me again how i don’t need a PU!…….LOL

    Oh and I figured the pricing of an F250 because I use a GMC 2500HD to tow my big boat. Hopefully the rental has an electric brake controller because I need that too.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Having tried EVERY rental company within 150 miles of my location, NONE will rent you a pickup to use for towing. I told each one that Id be towing a smallish car (the parts car I bought to do the interior swap on my Taurus with) with a dolly, something any pickup they offer could accomplish with ease. I tried all the major rental companies that rent pickups and local ones that do as well. Not even a crappy “pot lot” (what my friends and I called $h¡ГГ¥ car lots) that do rentals would allow it. All claimed it was due to insurance.

      You can rent a gigantic moving van and use it to tow, and Im sure a big ass box truck that gets 12 mpg on a good day that needs 4 spaces (not counting the trailer) to park at Walmart is SO much better than a half ton truck that gets 17-22mpg (what my cousin’s 2013 F-150 EcoBoost 4X4 SuperCrew averages) that can fit in any parking spot not labled “COMPACT”, or two spaces lengthways with a trailer/car hooked to it.

      • 0 avatar

        U-Haul will actually rent you a pickup and is OK with you towing with it.

        http://www.uhaul.com/Trucks/Pickup-Rental/BP/

        (I like that they define what a pickup is)

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          They would not when I tried. It couldve had something to do with the mileage I was to put on it. The car was about 150 miles away, and they only rent pickups for “in-town” use. They had mileage limits that I would have greatly exceeded. They also balked at the idea of me renting a tow dolly with it, again citing insurance. Keep in mind, this is the same company who wont let you tow with a vehicle named “Explorer” due to circumstances that occured like 15 years ago with a vehicle that shares NOTHING but its name and wheel lug pattern with the current one.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      What percentage of pickup owners do you think tow as often as you do? I think if it were high I’d see a lot fewer pristine hitch receivers.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        The majority of PU owners I know bought a truck because they need a tow vehicle. I may copy parts of this and stick it on the iboats forum in the towing section for fun.

        This whole thing is nothing more than click bait. It’s too ridiculous to be anything but. I had fun with it calculating that my PU saves me close to $20K a year. Hopefully the author did too!…….LOL

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    God, Im so sick of this “nobody really needs a pickup” BS. You might be traveling in the same country I do, but why is it that I see trucks loaded with work boxes (not simple in-bed tool boxes, but real job boxes of which only two can fit in a full size pickup bed- with nothing else), tools, equipment, auxiliary fuel tanks (for filling up off road equipment like bulldozers and skidsteers that are impossible to drive into town when they need fuel…which is at the end of every workday), and sometimes welding machines and air compressors?

    Sure, all that crap can fit in a Camry. Or, people who use these items every single work day can just rent a truck, right? And what will the rental company say when the truck is returned full of dents, scratches, and mud packed into every exterior crevis? Oh, and how well will that Camry do going down unmaintained rutted logging trails to get to the job site?

    Yep, NOBODY needs a truck based soley on the fact that you see pristine Tundras that have never hauled more than 20lbs of groceries being used for commuter duty and nothing else.

    Of course you can hook up a 20′ boat to your Camry, load the car down with fishing gear, camping supplies and food, and pack your entire family (with their clothes) in it to drive to the lake 120 miles away for a week/weekend camping/fishing trip. Good luck with that.

    Just because SOME people use their truck as a commuter, does not mean EVERY truck owner does. Furthermore, if youre commuting alone in your V-6 Camry, YOU are wasting resources. Trade it in for a Spark, lest you be guilty of the same “crimes” you accuse pickup drivers of: driving something bigger and more powerful than you really need when a smaller vehicle will do the same job using less fuel.

    For the smart a$$ who claims a Tahoe or Expedition could do that example fishing/camping trip just as well, Im sure you think that a decently equipped half ton (or hell, a 3/4 ton) truck costs exactly the same as one of those SUVs. besides, the same people bitching about people driving pickup trucks are the same ones bitching about those driving SUVs. Also, who wants to smell dead fish all 120 miles home?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I am someone who prefers the Expedition over the F150, but I don’t fish. I tow a boat and keep stuff inside the car. But I’ll never tell someone they chose the wrong vehicle for their needs if the think the F150 is a better fit. Heck, it is cheaper and newer.

      • 0 avatar
        Driver8

        The argument could be that for every driver that uses a truck as intended, there are 5 poseurs that don’t. If they were a niche, big whoop. As a sizable percentage of all vehicle sales, they impact design of everything else on the road….most notably the height and weight gain of most every passenger car (and perhaps the existence of the CUV).
        It’s an arms races of sorts.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          A “niche” describes all the workers who build EVERYTHING you use EVERYDAY? Houses/apartment complexes/condos, office buildings, roads, bridges, the wood that is used to make paper as well as lumber you build things with, etc. What sort of vehicles are used in logging operations and construction sites? How many are used to pull travel trailers an large boats? How many are used as roadside repair vehicles when your precious Lexus has a flat tire? Yep, only as many people doing those jobs as there are people driving Nissan Murano CrossCabriolets, right?

          A LOT of people use trucks for work EVERYDAY. Thats far more than a “niche”. Just because you dont use one, that MUST mean nobody else does, either? Get real!

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            John Taurus may have read the article and these comments, but failed to comprehend what either was intending to communicate.

            The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “The argument could be that for every driver that uses a truck as intended, there are 5 poseurs that don’t.”

          Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Id say there’s a 97.855% chance that you just pulled that one from your backside when no one was looking and laid it on the table.

          I’m sure an argument can be made concerning that and many other things. For instance, did you know that Elvis lives and runs fishing charters out of Key West. It’s true.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Bball, I in no way intended to call you a [email protected]$$, lol, hope you know that. At least you got my point, though. Pickups are useful for a lot more than just “image” as some of the snobs on here would have you to believe.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          John,
          The US is no different than here regarding pickups.

          A nice new 4×4 dual cab in the driveway in middle suburbia is THE sign of middle class success.

          75% are not used for work. They are never overloaded and are just daily drivers.

          CUVs are also the other sign of middle class suburbia.

          They are handy, but 99% of what the pickups are used for a Corolla is good enough.

          I own a pickup. It’s not a necessity, but a lifestyle choice.

          Like many comments here most are blowing wind up their asses to justify owning a pickup, like the guy who stated more or less he moved 1.5 tons of dirt with a 6.9 diesel HD. Really???

          • 0 avatar
            55_wrench

            Big Al,

            what should I have used? A Holden Maloo?

            You’ve missed the point here. My truck is a work truck. The paint is faded, the corners of the cab are rusting through, it’s 30 years old and ready for the scrapyard except for one thing..it runs and runs and runs.

            it is NOT an expression of my lifestyle, it’s NOT an extension of my personality, and is NOT a status symbol. I don’t need a vehicle to act as an identifier for who I am.

            The other 2 cars in my stable will not do what the truck can do.

            It is here to do dump runs, it’s paid for (the day I bought it 18 years ago), and it has earned the right to be in my side yard to work—or to just sit there until I replace it.

            No smoke coming from here.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      I pretty much needed a truck for 20 year and I always had one. When I retired my Grandpa duties got the truck traded for an SUV. That and stolen stuff from the bed. Three greatly different types of trailers make this the most versatile vehicle I’ve had. I have a 4runner but almost bought a panther to tow the trailers. Have found the 4wd of the SUV make the tractor excess.

      It’s ok with me if you need the car you drive or don’t. We have plenty of the brotrucks around here but the ones that get my attention and admiration are those that help someone earn a living. I learned a long time ago that generalizing about someones organ envy was fruitless but if you want to, go ahead.

      I appreciate all the knowledgeable comments about a jeep pickup being useless, but if Jeep had made the pickup in that picture I sure would have found a place for it in my drive .

  • avatar

    I’ve actually always thought of the Commanche when I think of Jeep pickup. I always thought they were cool looking, especially since I saw them pretty regularly at the AMC dealer where my parents bought a godawful 1986 Renault Alliance, despite the Encore they test drove breaking down on the test drive. Granted, I was 6 at the time, so my taste may have been suspect. The gaudy graphics probably helped.

    But the Commanche is the truck that car people claim they want but never seem to buy anymore – a basic, small pickup. When I see used ones for sale, it seems like most of them are manuals. It seems like it was bought for practically, not image.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My hometown Chrysler dealer has a ’13 JK Wrangler they had converted into a pickup – at $46k CDN (about $35k USD, by the looks of it), it’s sat on their lot for two years. You’d think the internet would be racing to rural Ontario with sweaty fisfuls of money, but it seems not so much.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Good article Jack. Free trade has not been kind to rednecks and the first requirement of selling a $40,000 car is locating a buyer with $40,000. Costumes for white collar urbanites it is.

    The only thing a pickup bed has ever given me is difficulty parking but so long as they’re unwilling to sell me a big car with a V8 that I can actually see out of I’ll take the bitter with the sweet. It still beats what they call cars now.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Jack,
    Not that you’re reading this deep in the comments as you’re probably out doing awesome by this time of day, but I suggest you change your byline on these elbow-in-the-ribs articles to “Jack Datruth”.

    I live in the actual middle of flyover country (I won’t say where but it rhymes with Jokelahoma) and image here is king. I’m actually from farther north, and our more northern sensibilities are a little confused here. Of course we drive import minivans, so we’re considered hippy-pinkos. There are people who actually use trucks, but they’re at the job site right now.

    The daily driver for white-collar men is an F150/Ram/Silverado or chromed out Unlimited with a lift. No lift = girl truck. They are spotless, have four doors, and generally a mega-church sticker, NRA sticker, and a college sports license plate (as opposed to the true South, where you replace all of that with a giant “Calvin” urinating on something). The daily driver for women is a Land Cruiser or Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade.

    We live 20 miles from something called Disney off road park, and its the axle-breaking place for Jeeps to actually prove the difference between money spent on chrome and on skidplates. Most of the drivers at Disney come in from out of state.

    I used to own Wranglers (and work at a Chrysler/Jeep dealer when carpet, six cylinders, and a back seat were options). I was nostalgically wandering the Jeep section at the local auto show (we don’t get concept cars, and only a few lonely models to man the turntables) and found myself standing in front of a new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara (which cost Unlimited payments) next to an older gentleman. He quietly tapped the grille, muttered “plastic” under his breath, and walked away without another word.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Willyam – – –

      Beautiful story.
      I like your style.
      Has kind of a Garrison Keillor sense to it.
      You should write for an on-line mag.
      TTAC maybe?

      ===============

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Thank you Jack.

    Don’t get defensive everyone. Your “perfectly reasonable use/love of a pickup” does not explain their overall numbers, cartoonish ridiculousness, and decline of alternatives.

  • avatar
    Jayflm

    As for the cop angle, my friend who trains troopers in emergency vehicle operations for the Texas DPS tells me that they are having to go to SUVs exclusively because the cars they have tried since the Crown Vic have to be scrapped too often because of bent bodies. The lack of a true frame can’t handle the sort of stuff their guys get into.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    People just get stupid and when it come to the topic of pickups. Meanwhile most cars, CUVs, etc, use the back seat as much as pickups fully use their beds. So why not buy a 2-seater and rent the sedan. Most pickups are going to drive around empty most of the time. That’s by ‘design’. Even box trucks, simis and buses are empty most of the time.

    Judging is what @ssholes need to be doing constantly. I may have a bed full of power equipment, not readily visible. Hint: I like it that way.

    Other trucks hide a 5th wheel hitch, that I can barely see, sitting up high. If it’s an older lady in a nicer truck plus hitch gear, it likely pulls their home on wheels, and their only transportation.

    But keep on judging though.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well I must agree, the Air Force Museum at Dayton is first rate.

    And the article was pretty darn good as well. Much better than all the attack articles lately. I hope it is a return to form.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I think that every article is seen as an attack article by *someone*, unfortunately.

      Next week I’m going to talk about my experience selling Broncos and someone is going to think I’m making fun of AC Cowlings.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Why would anyone buy a coupe when they have to put a carseat in the back? That just seems silly. Also, how does everyone “know” that the pickups they see are bed-empty? Most trucks I see have tonneau covers on, and those that don’t sit high enough there’s no way I can see the bed even from my higher-seated minivan. You can fit an awful lot of gear, work equipment, below a cover.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Just as you’ll find more people who wish to be taller than those who wish to be shorter, you’ll find more drivers who like being up higher than lower. Height makes the timid feel less vulnerable and the bullies feel more intimidating.

    I’m sure that police departments want to use SUVs for their plate readers and other automated gear.

    Enthusiasts also ought to get out of the habit of presuming that a passenger car is normal and that anything else is an aberration. You have a generation of people who grew up with taller vehicles and believe that getting a passenger car would be some sort of compromise. Tastes change, you know.

    It didn’t help the US automakers to have the public realize that their cars were neither reliable nor luxurious. The American sedan market gave way to the imports and transplants, which forced Detroit to push the one segment that had not destroyed their reputations: the full-size truck.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    All this crying about truck owners makes me want to go buy a RAM Rebel, go offroading, and wash my muddy windshield with the tears of the “I know what’s right for you” crowd. I don’t even like the Rebel, or currently own a truck.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    I, for one, am sick and tired of people trying to tell me what I should drive, and how I should spend my own money.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    That’s why what I really want is a Ford Transit Ecoboost crew van rather than an F150. Believe me, that would get more than 20 days of use hauling stuff that won’t fit in a Camry.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    Beautiful Soliloquy.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would agree that many who drive a pickup do not really need one, but for those of us that have one it is nice to have an open bed to haul objects to big and tall to haul in a car and too dirty to haul inside a car. Granted you don’t need to spend 60k for a fancy pickup, but a used pickup especially one that you have owned and maintained for years is worth owning. I get a lot more satisfaction in having the utility of my 99 S-10 pickup than a BMW that can barely hold a set of golf clubs in the trunk and that you pay a premium to maintain. The utility of a vehicle to me is more important than the status. There is beauty in function.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Jeff S – – –

      Amen! My Frontier is a joy, regardless of what I am “supposed to” use it for.
      My BMW 3-series sedan was essentially a fraud: I got rid of it.

      I have bought and driven pickups continually since 1974, and that is longer back than the age of most folks who post on this site.

      I just plain like trucks. Period! – –
      They are rugged.
      They have a real frame.
      They are not front-wheel drive.
      They allow me to sit up higher and see better.
      They have great ground clearance for winter snows.
      They separate components (Engine, Tranny, Diff) for ease of repair.
      They allow the freedom to haul a lot of stuff (as my friends who move remind me).
      They can survive accidents better and protect their occupants with more massive structure.

      In fact, I was going to spend the $160K to buy a Kenworth w900 semi. (Just the tractor,– a “bobtail”) Want to use it to go grocery shopping at the local “Festival Foods,” and on occasional trips to see my grandkids.
      Would I really need it? Absolutely! Without those 10 gears to shift, I’d go nuts”. It’s pure psychotherapy. Rides like a dream. Can see everything. Almost immune to accidents.

      =====================

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    If Jeep could do a Wrangler based pickup “on the cheap” and re-use as much as possible from the existing vehicle, I think it could be a nice profit maker even in limited volume. If they go off the deep end and make a unique cab, frame and bed, the volumes will have to be larger to make the venture profitable.

    Personally, I’m tired of every truck being a crew-cab monster. A regular cab Wrangler (with a few extra inches to allow some seat movement for us taller folks) with a modest bed would be a perfect lifestyle truck. Sure you won’t sell 100,000 of them, but I’d bet they sell enough to make it worth the trip if unique parts are kept to a minimum. The AEV Brute based on the previous gen (i.e. TJ) Wrangler is just about perfect in my eyes. Not too big, not too small.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Easier to justify a Wrangler based pickup now that 1) Jeep already has the longer wheelbase Unlimited and 2) Fiat wishes to sell Jeep brand vehicles in countries all around the world. Put a short cab and a bed on the Unlimited frame and sell it as a compact pickup with exceptional off-road capabilities. Bigger than an ATV with the option of driving on highways. Smaller and less expensive than an F-150 Raptor with the option to fit narrow trails.

  • avatar
    JR42

    Meh, I daily drive a smallish truck for a few reasons:
    1. It’s paid for;
    2. I love it;
    3. I use it, more than the magic rental threshhold in the article, thankfully.

    I think the article’s operating on a big fat red herring. Since when is a Camry a benchmark? How does your Porsche/ Hellcat/ Veyron et al compare mileage-wise, to a Camry?

    JR

  • avatar
    George B

    I find the idea of having a pickup truck more appealing than the reality of actually driving a pickup truck. They’ve become too expensive to just have one sitting around as a spare vehicle and they’re a little too big to easily fit parking spaces in the suburbs.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Moparmann: And THAT is why I change my own oil (aside from the fact that it is a simple task that I enjoy doing!) I...
  • Pig_Iron: Agreed, considering how far behind Ford is in EV design and development, this project is nothing but a...
  • burgersandbeer: Count me in too. The latest styling has really grown on me. With NA engines and a traditional roof...
  • Moparmann: I think there are a lot of us out here that are suffering from an advancing case of “OLD”, but...
  • Moparmann: I despise no show socks, if I’m gonna wear ’em, then you gotta see ‘um!! :-)

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber